More SC patients on green plan for health

Last updated 05:00 13/12/2013

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More than 500 South Canterbury patients are expected to be issued with Green Prescriptions this financial year, and that figure is expected to increase next year.

An estimated 520 patients will be referred to the Green Prescription scheme by the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) over the financial year.

SCDHB chief executive Nigel Trainor said that was expected to go up next year.

A Green Prescription is a written recommendation from a doctor or clinical nurse to help patients become more active, eat more healthily and improve their overall health.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has announced almost 20,000 Canterbury and West Coast people will be issued one of the prescriptions over the next four years.

"Thanks to the Government's recent $7.2 million investment in Green Prescriptions, more New Zealanders than ever before will receive support to live a more active and healthier lifestyle," he said.

"More than a quarter of a million people have already received a Green Prescription since the initiative began in 1998. That figure is expected to double and be around half a million by 2016/17. Half of those referrals will be for people at risk of, or living with, diabetes."

Sixty per cent of people given a Green Prescription are spending more time being active. One in seven of those people have noticed positive health changes, including weight loss and 65 per cent made changes to their diet, he said.

Those changes include eating less junk food and having smaller meals.

"The benefits aren't just for the individual either - two thirds of people reported they have encouraged others to be more active."


A GP or practice nurse issues their patient with a Green Prescription. The script is written or issued electronically.

If the patient wants ongoing support, the script is forwarded through a Green Prescription patient support person.

The support person encourages the patient to become more active through: monthly telephone calls for 3-4 months, or; face to face meetings for 3-4 months, or; group support in a community setting for 3-6 months.

The patient's progress on their path to an active lifestyle is reported back to the referring health professional.

If the patient feels they would benefit from ongoing support, they are encouraged to ask their health professional for another Green Prescription. 

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- The Timaru Herald


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